Why Ethereum crashed today

The crypto industry continues to deal with the news from yesterday that FTX has agreed to sell its non-US operations to Binance.

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This article was originally published on Fool.com. All figures quoted in US dollars unless otherwise stated.

What happened

Most cryptocurrencies and crypto stocks continued to plunge today as the industry deals with the fallout from the events in recent days that ultimately led the large crypto exchange FTX to agree to sell its non-U.S. operations to Binance.

Over the past 24 hours, shares of the world's second-largest cryptocurrency, Ethereum (CRYPTO: ETH), traded more than 24% lower as of noon today. Shares of the meme tokens Shiba Inu (CRYPTO: SHIB) and Dogecoin (CRYPTO: DOGE) traded more than 16% and 23% down, respectively.

So what

In recent days, there have been rumors questioning the solvency of FTX after a scathing report from the news website CoinDesk said that the crypto exchange's sister trading firm, Alameda Research, had a large number of its total assets in the cryptocurrency FTX Token (CRYPTO: FTT).

FTT is the in-house cryptocurrency created by FTX. The concern was what would happen to both Alameda and therefore FTX, because of how tied the two companies were, if the price of FTT fell. Furthermore, there were concerns about whether FTT was being used as collateral in any way. Not that it matters as much now, but the price of FTT is down more than 78% over the last 24 hours.

On the news of Alameda, Binance's CEO Changpeng Zhao announced that he would liquidate $2 billion of his FTT holdings, which started the concerns about FTT's price holding up and the impact on FTX and Alameda.

While FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried tried to calm these fears, taking to Twitter to say that FTX's balance sheet was sound, customers began to withdraw their funds from FTX; the crypto exchange said it saw $6 billion of withdrawals in 72 hours. This eventually led Bankman-Fried to turn to Zhao and sell FTX's non-U.S. operations to shore up the liquidity crunch the company was facing.

But the deal is pending due diligence, and there are already media reports, including one from CoinDesk citing anonymous sources, suggesting Binance might not end up going through with the deal. This whole series of events has shaken the faith in the entire crypto industry, similar to other big crypto meltdowns like that of algorithmic stablecoins.

"It shows that no one is too big to fail," Pascal Gauthier, CEO of crypto wallet firm Ledger, said on CNBC. "FTX seemed untouchable."

This also could hurt the resolve of the general public and reduce investing activity if people are skeptical about the large crypto exchanges and believe that they lack stability.

Now what

I don't know if the events over the last few days have affected my view of specific cryptocurrencies, but more so reflect the erratic nature of the industry as a whole and how it is still very much the Wild West.

FTX played an important role in the industry, so to see it go down so quickly -- and to realize some of the issues it likely had -- are going to raise a lot of questions.

Ultimately, my view hasn't changed on these three cryptocurrencies. I still like Ethereum at these levels and think the token has great long-term potential because of all of its real-world uses. The recent upgrades to the network should also greatly help Ethereum scale as well.

I am still not a fan of Dogecoin or Shiba Inu due to their lack of real-world utility and the lack of technical capabilities on each of their perspective networks.

This article was originally published on Fool.com. All figures quoted in US dollars unless otherwise stated.

Bram Berkowitz has positions in Ethereum. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. has positions in and has recommended Ethereum. The Motley Fool Australia has positions in and has recommended Ethereum. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.

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